Mega Bizarre: A Shark Tale (Please Don't Sue Me, Dreamworks)

Ah, the lure of the $0.99 ebook.  You think, "Gosh, this is super-cheap!  It's less than a dollar!  Instant purchase!"  Yeah, that old trick.  It's a dollar.  Really.  Kinda like when gas stations tack that little 9/10 of a cent on the end of the price of fuel so that it seems like it's only $2.99 a gallon, when really it's $2.99 and nine-tenths, which is, for all practical purposes, $3.

That's too much math for me right now.  Yikes.  Why am I bringing up the $0.99 ebook?  Well, Amazon knows that you will buy those.  Especially if it's a LIMITED TIME DEAL or DEAL OF THE DAY or SECRET SALE or something.  I'm not quite sure how I found this title, but about a month ago, I impulsively purchased Mega: A Deep Sea Thriller for my Kindle.  

thrift shop ebook

I don't just read YA lit, you know.  I like fluffy reads, mysteries, and I'm a big fan of the popcorn-style mutated animals + spec ops teams combo books (think Matt Reilly or James Rollins (more of his earlier stuff, but I like his new stuff too).  So, yeah, basically anything that Syfy makes into a movie. 

Note to self: Watch Sharknado, gain cultural awareness.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I figured, "Hey, this could be entertaining.  It's cheap.  And if I dislike it, I won't feel too bad about it."  Unfortunately, a lot of the mystery creature adventure thriller books I've read lately have been horrifically edited.  Perhaps they haven't been edited at all, which floors me, especially when it's a paper copy that somebody, somewhere, thought it would be good to publish.  The Event Group series by David Golemon is a perfect example of this.  The first one, Event, was uneven, but a lot of fun.  Then things went completely off-the-wall and there were grammar mistakes up the yazoo and sentences that didn't make any logical sense.  

The author's name is Jake Bible, by the way.  I've simply never heard of someone whose last name is also what we call a holy book in English, so, there's that.  That's pretty much related to zero other things in this post, but I do want to assure you that it's not a typo.

The first thing I noticed was that aside from a few hiccups, Mega was actually pretty competently edited.  Me being me, I have to note the funny editorial things before moving forward.  I'm cruel that way.  When the Somali pirates attack a German tanker at the beginning of the book, the German sailors are speaking German.  However, it would be a good idea to figure out how German is conjugated before you put it in your book.  The captain says, " 'Ich sprechen' " which makes no sense.    It's "Ich spreche."  Yikes.  He also spells English "English" when it should be "Englisch."  *twitch*  Near the end, we have a classic example of #no: "must of felt the change."  Darling.  I understand that when we speak, "have" and "of" often sound alike when following "must.  But it's "must have" not "must of."

So, let's talk about the actual book.  It's got a mildly entertaining premise: people fight giant shark.  I like a good monster book as much as the next book nerd.  However, this falls into all of the traps of these sorts of books.  The characters are extremely one-dimensional.  For example, the beginning of the book describes the financial woes of an ex-SEAL, Darren Chambers in South Africa.  He's pretty well described, and his plight is clear.  The reader would expect that this will be the main character.  However, after those opening scenes, he pretty much disappears from the action except for key moments where he pops in and says something like, "Hey, I'm the captain here."  Could have fooled me.

Another character is Kinsey, Mr. Ex-SEAL's ex-wife, who almost became a SEAL herself before failing a routine drug exam.  As you do when this happens, she becomes addicted to like every drug ever (including alcohol) and performs sexual favors in exchange for drugs.  Her dad, a SEAL commander, resigned when she got kicked out and pretty much ignored her ever since.  Thorne (that' his name) becomes the actual leader of the military squad in the book: Team Grendel.  Other recruits include pot-smoking sniper brothers (for real), a Coast Guard pilot who just happens to be dating the aforementioned Darren Chambers, and her Coast Guard sniper friend.

Actually, there are a ridiculous amount of characters in this book (more shark chum), and it was pretty hard for me to keep track of what was going on and who was originally doing what for which organization.  I needed a flow chart.

The betrayal was pretty predictable.  The other villain (i.e. not the giant shark) is a Somali pirate chief who is hunting the giant shark because it killed one of his sons.  This doesn't seem like sufficient motivation.  This man, Daacar, is extremely focused on avenging his son.  However, he kills his other sons (not all at the same time!!!) without a second thought.  Even if the shark-eaten son was a favorite, would he really endanger being captured by sailing around hunting a giant shark?  It doesn't seem very pirate-y to me.

The ending wasn't really satisfying, but it contained some oddly bizarre dialogue that entertained me. Consider this: " 'The shark was pregnant,' Mr. Ballantine replied.  'Impossible,' Gunnar said, 'a clone couldn't just be pregnant.'  'Apparently it could,' Mr. Ballantine said.  'They don't know how, they don't know why.' "  OH HOW CONVENIENT.  Pregnant clones that fly in the face of biology, explained away by a "well-that's-just-how-it-is" statement.  Huh???

Also, Darren (ex-SEAL, non-entity) is hunting a giant whale, which they sort of find, but he also agrees to go find this giant shark, which they really find, but at the end, he still wants to find the stupid whale.  After all that.  The whale.  There are, of course, myriad references to Moby-Dick.  Sigh.

This definitely isn't horrible.  It didn't make me want to scream.  I just shook my head, sadly at times, at the lost potential for a great campy story.  Evidently, there's a sequel coming out.  Is that really necessary?  Well, maybe I can tell you, if it ends up being $0.99.


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